Raleigh Watergate investigator: ‘Don’t repeat the mistakes of the past’

Rufus Edmisten

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – One of the people closely watching Thursday’s testimony is someone who’s lived through a high-profile investigation involving the White House.

Rufus Edmisten is an attorney in Raleigh who served as deputy chief legal counsel on the Senate’s Watergate Committee, which was chaired by former North Carolina Sen. Sam Ervin.

Edmisten served the Senate subpoena on former president Richard Nixon.

“Don’t fire people who are investigating you. Don’t get other people to try to help you do it or give the appearance that you’re doing that,” said Edmisten, who has also served as North Carolina’s attorney general and secretary of state.


Edmisten said Comey’s notes of his conversation with President Trump could be important evidence, but that alone isn’t proof the president tried to obstruct justice.

“For an hour-and-a-half, you had ‘Liar, liar, pants on fire.’ and then immediately after that when the Trump folks came back it was ‘Liar, liar pants on fire,’” he said of Thursday’s events. “You study history so you don’t repeat the mistakes of the past. but, we’re very early on in this investigation now. this is only the beginning.”

He says what should concern the Trump administration more than Comey’s testimony is the special counsel’s investigation.

“My goodness when they get going, the sky’s the limit. They have broad authority. They can look into anything and everything,” Edmisten said.

He commended Sen. Richard Burr (R) who chairs the intelligence committee and said there shouldn’t be an issue with multiple investigations unfolding simultaneously.

“The trouble is most of this stuff would not be happening if they’d learned the lessons of Watergate,” said Edmisten.

Recently CBS North Carolina also interviewed Gene Boyce, an attorney in Raleigh who uncovered the taping system in the Nixon White House. To see his interview, click here.

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